Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea: What happened?
Chelsea’s decision to part ways with manager Thomas Tuchel came as a shock to the sporting world. Tuchel’s tenure at Chelsea lasted just 19 months, in which time he won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. The German took Chelsea to 4 finals of the 5 cup competitions they were in.
His departure came as a shock to fans, as Tuchel had been fully backed in the transfer window by the new Chelsea owners. Todd Boehly and his consortium spent over £250million on the Chelsea squad this summer, a new record for a net spend in a transfer window. Tuchel was fully involved in this summer’s transfers and received many of the players he asked for. With the reputation that Todd Boehly has as a sports club owner, it seemed that he favoured a long-term project for his teams, rather than the Chelsea reputation of hiring and firing managers. Therefore, Tuchel leaving Chelsea, a week being backed in the transfer window, made little sense to anyone.
The full set of circumstances surrounding Tuchel’s departure from Chelsea remain a mystery. It was very well known that the German had a very close relationship with the former board at the club that worked under old owner Roman Abramovich. Technical advisor Petr Cech and Director Marina Granovskaia had a strong working bond with the former Chelsea manager. Therefore, it was expected that Tuchel would probably find it difficult to form the same kind of dynamic with the new people above him.
At the beginning of the summer transfer window, there were strong rumours around the future of Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo. His name was strongly linked with Chelsea at the time, who were in desperate need of a goal scorer. The new people at the top of the tree seemed very keen to bring in Ronaldo, as a statement signing as new owners. However, Thomas Tuchel was adamant that he did not want to bring the Portuguese International to Stamford Bridge, despite Todd Boehly’s persistence. This supposed disagreement created a rift between the pair, setting them off on the wrong foot.
There were some grey areas around the way in which Thomas Tuchel left Chelsea. In a strange turn of events, only Tuchel himself was immediately dismissed from the club. Usually, when a manager and football club part ways, the team of back-room staff follow the manager. However, in this scenario, a few of the assistant staff have stayed at Cobham (Chelsea’s training ground), whereas others left later in the week. Therefore, the way in which Tuchel left the West London club remains unsolved.
Chelsea’s poor form and performances since the start of the season indicated to many that Tuchel may have “lost the dressing room.” The players at Stamford Bridge have been known to be “difficult to motivate” at times, which was said by former boss Frank Lampard after he left in 2021. The Blues had lost 3 of their opening 7 games in all competitions. They lost their most recent game, an opening Champions League group stage game against Dinamo Zagreb, putting in a performance that was almost cringeworthy. Chelsea have just won just 3 of their games this season, all of which were unconvincing and somewhat questionable victories. The team’s performances and mentality have been lacking since the season kicked off and didn’t look to be improving.
It is no secret that Thomas Tuchel’s job history shows that he has previous behaviour of losing touch in the dressing room. Not only this, but the German does have form for falling out with those working above him. He was released from both his roles at Borussia Dortmund and PSG following disagreements with the management and people at the top. Tuchel has also had issues in his life away from football, of which have been highly publicised, that look to have impacted his work. It is a possibility that some of these factors could have been reasons for his shock exit.
Thomas Tuchel recently took to social media and wrote a heartfelt letter towards Chelsea and the fans. He stated that he was “devastated” to be leaving Chelsea and expressed his disappointment of how his time in London had come to an end, something that resonated highly with the fans. He had recently led the cub through one of the most difficult periods in their history and had done an exemplary job in doing so. He had earned the hearts of many Chelsea supporters and had become a fan favourite at the club of which is some achievement, as the boss he succeeded was no other than club legend Frank Lampard. Tuchel had a stellar record with the Blues, winning 60 of his 100 games in charge, making his exit even more painful for the fans.
Chelsea are now looking to build a new “long-term plan” with a new head coach, former Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter. Potter moves to Stamford Bridge alongside his assistant manager and recruitment analyst of whom he worked alongside at Brighton.
Tuchel’s next plans in football are unknown, as his time at Chelsea is sure to leave a sour taste in his mouth. As much as Potter is an extremely promising and talented manager, he has big shoes to fill in the eyes of Chelsea fans.